Archives for the month of: April, 2009
Originally published on facebook –  April 27, 2009.

From Dominical, Jon and Josh and I headed down to Pavones (still in Costa Rica). Pavones is a REALLY small town which is renowned among surfers for it’s incredibly long left hand break, apparently second longest in the world. I of course have no idea what that means, even though it’s been explained to me a couple times now, really, why would I care? I’m not a surfer. While we were in Dominical I chatted on F.B. with Dusky (who I had met previously in La Fortuna) and he was nearby in Manuel Antonio. He is driving from California to South America in an old Jeep Cherokee. I convinced him to come down and drive us to Pavones and he agreed! So we got a fun ride on some crazy roads.

Made it to Pavones, a lovely little town, with amazing sunsets. Very low key quiet vibe, which was nice after the tourist packed Dominical.

I stayed in Pavones until Monday and then decided to take the epic bus ride down to Panama city. Epic. 14 hours. I said my goodbyes to my buddy Jon and left at 5:30am and was lucky enough to meet a girl on the bus who spoke great Spanish. (I seem to keep getting very lucky that way, maybe it’s not lucky, my Spanish is still pretty atrocious). Anyways we took a couple buses to get to the border and then spent 2 hours dealing with the paperwork to get across the border and finding a bus to take us into Panama. She wasn’t headed to Panama city but we were on the same bus together for a while.

I arrived in P. city around 8pm, and felt pretty overwhelmed at first buy the speed of everything and the crowds of people. Cars everywhere speeding around and the infamous “Diablo Rojo” buses spewing black exhaust and blaring music, drivers yelling the buses destinations etc…was hectic. Kinda a culture shock being in a big city after all the little places I have been staying in.


Made it by cab to my crazy hostel called Luna’s castle which is in Casco Viejo (the old part of Panama) The hostel is an old colonial mansion that has been converted into the hostel. 12-13 foot ceilings and big tall wooden double doors lead into every room. Huge place and party central for kids.

I stayed in Panama city from Monday night until Saturday afternoon. My first full day (Tuesday) I spent walking all around through Casco Viejo and up Avenida Central. Avenida Central is a long boulevard that leads up out of Casco Viejo until it reaches Plaza Cinco de Mayo (which is much smaller then I thought it would be). The avenue is pedestrian only and is full of huge stores selling really cheap clothing (think hundred of stores just like the Army and Navy) and the street is packed with all different sorts of people, from teenagers dressed to kill to down and outs to families to women from the Kuna tribe dressed in their traditional outfits (very difficult to take a picture of as they are quite camera shy). Neat place, teeming with humanity. At one point I decided to wander down a side street and promptly got myself lost in a somewhat sketchy area, I didn’t feel nervous but figured I should get myself out of there so I innocently asked a wonderful woman how to get back to Avenida Central. She looked at me like I was crazy, took my arm and escorted me about 10 blocks until I knew where I was again. the whole time telling me that this was a “muy pelligroso” (very dangerous) part of town and to hold onto my purse tightly! Don’t worry about me guys I felt safe and have wandered worse neighborhoods at home!


Casco Viejo is an old part of town that is being reclaimed and restored quite beautifully. There is construction everywhere and seems to be a concentration of Architectural firms in the area as well. I saw a couple beautiful churches, one of which has a massive elaborate alter made of gold, very rococo, very ornate. I also saw the Plaza of Indepencia, which is where Panama declared independence from Columbia.


Back at the hostel that night I was on F.B. and lo and behold Dusky was in Panama as well! We decided to meet up the next day…

We started walking from the hostel and went up to Ancon Hill (Cerra Ancon) which has sweeping views of most of the city as well as of the canal. It was a hot and muggy walk up there but worth it.

While we were up the hill I noticed a cemetery and we decided to go find it as we came down off the hill. We worked our way down towards it and as we got near we realized that we were headed into an area that might not be so good, we decided to go for it anyways. We got about a block away and a policeman came up to us and asked what we were doing there. We told him and he warned us that this was a very dangerous part of Panama, we promised to be quick and to catch a cab to get us out of the neighborhood. We went into the cemetery and I managed to get a few pictures before more policemen came in and insisted that we leave. They escorted us to the street and waited with us until a cab came along which they flagged down and we got into. They were quite concerned for our safety apparently! The taxi driver told us that we had been in an area called Chorrillo, probably one of the worst areas in the entire city! He said he would never have stopped for us if the policemen hadn’t flagged him down. Gee, it’s fun being a tourist!


After this adventure we took our cab to the Minaflores locks, part of the famous Panama Canal! We had a very expensive buffet lunch ($24 US dollars) and watched boats go through the locks for about 3 hours, eating pretty much the whole time…making sure we ate our monies worth! This was one hella long day, we must have waked for miles and miles.

The next day we went to Isla Tartoga about 20km off the coast of Panama city, it was a pretty little island but kinda boring, not much to do except to lie on a very small stretch of beach. We did find another cemetery and I took some pictures and then we noticed a little archway leading out the back way of the cemetery, we went back there and there were a couple of old, USED, empty coffins, one of them even had a pair of pants inside it that had obviously been worn by the deceased….CREEPY to say the least!

I had heard about a circus (Circus Tihany) in town so we made our way to that for the evening. Was a total throwback, kind of a Vegas showgirl act, mixed with cat and dogs tricks, mixed with performances by some contortionists, trapeze, 2 guys doing acro-yoga type poses (these performances were the best parts) there was also Tihany himself, a 60ish year old magician, who essentially performed the same trick over and over again with minor variations (watch him disappear a motorcycle, watch him materialize dogs, cat, helicopters etc….). Anyways it was entertaining and cheap and a good thing to do at night.

I’ve been getting a lot of attention from the men here, Dusky nicknamed me the PanaMANian Magnet!
Nothing threatening though, just lot of hisses, just wondering…who told these guys that hissing at a woman was a good way to impress her?

Last day we went to see the ruins of Panama Veijo (Old Panama) was moderately interesting and I booked my flight to come to the Bocas del Toro the next day, where I am currently. Left Dusky in Panama as he is planning to have his truck shipped down to Columbia to continue his journey down to Chile.

Am happy I have finally reached the Caribbean side!!! There is a different vibe here, very mellow and English is spoken with a wonderful accent. I am staying in Boca’s Town on Isla Colon, there are about 4-5 different islands here that make up the Bocas, every beach is different. Yesterday I went to Isla Bastiemos and hiked a long muddy path to get to Wizard Beach, stunning! The sand is super fine and so golden and the water was aqua blue-green. Crazy rip tides and waves so stayed really, really close to shore, but had a wonderful time. Last night was another rum night, met some people here in the Hostel I am staying in (I splurged and got my own room with my OWN BATHROOM!) Anyways it was another night of rum craziness, we’re all feeling the effects today. I have laid pretty low as I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle a water taxi today! Think I will spend tomorrow here, see another island and another beach and then will head for the Costa Rica border and Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo and Cahuita , probably with a woman I met by the name of Steph, possibly some others as well. Have to start heading back to Montezuma as the yoga training starts on May 9th and I have to be there a few days early to figure out my housing situation and read some of the books I need to do the training.

Hope you are all still enjoying these updates, I know they are becoming pretty long, hope you’re not bored.

Love to all! xoxoxox

Originally published on facebook – April 14, 2009.

So a lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. I did it!!! I quit my jobs and cancelled my flight home, I have to use my airline credit before July 8th so I guess I will be home the first week of July. All my jobs were very happy for me and have told me that they want me to work for them once I come home! I feel very blessed! I have registered to do a Yoga teacher training in Montezuma during the month of May, so I will be certified to teach Vinyassa Flow yoga once I am home, am pretty excited about this. While I am doing the training I will be renting a room or shack or whatever you want to call it with a little kitchenette and hopefully a bathroom of my own, this is going to save me over a thousand US dollars in fees!

I finally left Montezuma for real last Monday and headed out on some adventures on my own. I decided to go up to Monteverde by bus, ferry and another bus, took me from 8am to 6pm…long day! The last bus (a collectivo) was scarey as hell, climbing up long winding rough bumpy dirt roads into the mountains, narrow, with no guardrails or anything between the wheels of the bus and oblivion! I know it is senseless but I had a firm grip on my armrest at all times, gave me a weird sense of security! I was lucky to arrive in Monteverde in the midst of an incredible windstorm and froze my buns off, even wearing every warm layer I brought with me I was still cold! Quite a shock being up in the hills at the center of this country after being coastal for the first 3 weeks! I got a room at the Pension Santa Elena that looked as if a circus had thrown up in it, but the bed was comfy. Unfortunately the claim of hot water was an outright lie and I had to shower in icy cold water, not a happy girl!


I was lucky to find a yoga class being offered just outside of town the next morning so I took a cab the 4kms and enjoyed the class. It was a little easy for me but still good to do, I want to take as many different yoga classes as I can while I am moving around so I can absorb all the knowledge and experience and use that once I start teaching. After the class I walked back in to town and was treated to some stunning views.

That afternoon I went on a canopy tour (zipline) which I had done before in Whistler but they don’t have anything like this at home! 13 lines, the last one was 1km long, so long that 2 people have to ride it together otherwise you would get stuck in the middle. But the best part was a Tarzan swing they have rigged up. You stand on the edge of a platform and they winch a rope to the front of you, the guy holds on to the back of your harness and tells you to bend your knees, he lowers you over the edge and then lets go, awesome! You swing way out and back and then the guys at the bottom tell you to put your legs down so they can try to grab you to help slow you down, I refused! I wanted to keep going, so I ended up getting about twice the ride then anybody else did, hee hee hee, was so fun!

I’d had too much of the cold at this point so the next morning I booked out of town. I took a shuttle, boat, shuttle from Monteverde to La Fortuna, home of the infamous Volcano Arenal. Stayed at a very nice hotel called Las Colinas, the price was not so nice, but they did have cable tv!!!! and warm showers, which were really kind of pointless as it was so nice and warm there, oh well, still a luxury. I arrived mid afternoon so I just wandered around town and managed to stub the same big toe, twice, the second time hurt so much I almost cried in the middle of the street. The sidewalks are so irregular… I must try to remember that when I’m gawking my way around a new town.After icing my toe for a couple hours and having some yummy coffee (yes I’m on coffee again as the tea here is abysmal!) I ran into a young guy, Alex, I had met coming over Lake Arenal in the boat and we wandered around checking out different tour options for the volcano and hot springs. We got a decent deal at $40 (though some of you were kind enough to mention to me afterwards that I could have self guided and bussed it, oh well). I had an early night, got to watch a little tv for the first time in a month, still all the same old crap.

We went on the tours the next afternoon, saw a toucan, a hummingbird nest with a little tiny peanut sized baby in it and some other cool things, most of it was too far away to be able to take picture though. After the hike, at sunset, we went to view the volcano, we watch from pretty far away and once again my camera couldn’t catch it but yes, I did see lava, mostly through binocs, but still pretty cool.


After the lava we went to these epic hot springs, all man made except the water, was kinda like a theme park but nice, the most warm water I’ve had on my body since I got here, (and coincidentally the one month anniversary of my arrival in Costa Rica) I felt so clean afterwards! Went for dinner after with Alex and some other people I had met, MORE pizza. Left La Fortuna the next day and headed to Quepos, near Manuel Antonio, only had one full day there, no time really and almost everything has been closed all weekend because of Easter (Semana Santa). Didn’t really like Quepos very much, but did spend half a day on Manuel Antonio beach, which was super crowded but quite nice.

Finally made it to Dominical yesterday and met up with Jon and his friend Josh. I met a guy on the beach, Mason (from Vancouver) and they had met a couple girls from England Janet and Lorraine, so we all went out for dinner and drinks last night, turned into a very early morning. The boys tried to light a bonfire on the beach (not really sure of the point as it’s damn hot here already) I got to plug my ipod into Jons speakers and I danced around on a lifeguard platform for hours in the moonlight, was beautiful, seeing the big moon and with the waves crashing in, while whatever song took my fancy at the moment played. I am usually kinda a self-conscious dancer, I find the typical everybody in a circle on the dance floor of a club, not being able to talk because of the volume of the music quite on odd thing usually, but here in that moment it was liberating and beautiful!

We are chilling out on a patio now, going to head to a beach where there are apparently some “great surf breaks” (I dunno, me I just want to lay around in the sun) and we will watch the sunset from there. It’s neat, every beach I’ve been to, around sunset everybody (tourists and locals, families and teens) comes down to the beach with beers and we all partake of mama natures sunset painting of the day, lovely!


I haven’t been able to find any other yoga classes except apparently there is some here in Dominical, will try to do a class tomorrow, really wish I had a yoga mat, I would do some on my own, maybe I will be able to buy one somewhere.

We are staying here in Dominical another 2 nights and then the rough plan is to head down to the Osa peninsula. Still figuring out where exactly. We will stay there until Sunday or Monday and then Jon and Josh have to head back up to San Jose to go home, I am going to head to Panama from there. Will write more soon, keep in touch everybody, tell me about life at home, I miss you all and love you tons! xo

Originally published on facebook – April 1, 2009.

Its been a couple weeks now, and I am finished school and have moved on from Montezuma however I will backtrack a little bit to fill you in……

So the first week of Spanish was very hard. 4 hours a day! plus it had been forever since I had to try to learn anything or memorize! A few times I got really frustrated with myself (especially at first) but then I calmed down and realized I wouldn´t be perfect at it right away and to be patient and kind to myself and I started to do better, esp. during the second week. I still have a ton to learn , right now I´m at the point where I understand more then I can speak..not so bad and I know it will get better and better. I had 3 other people in my class the first week, Jackie from Chicago, Allyson from New York and Matt from Guelph Ontario. We all tried to help each other out. Our teacher was a very handsome Argentinian man named Fede (this so did not help my learning process!) but once I got over my schoolgirl crush I did better, lol! 😉 He even told me at the end of the second week that my accent was much improved, don´t know if it´s true, but I´ll take it! Matt left us for the second week so it was just Jackie, Allyson and I after that.

Some other girls arrived that week, they weren´t taking Spanish with us but we had fun chatting with them in the hammocks and went for dinner together a few times. The wonderful Jon was a constant, he´s become like a cross between a little brother and a cabana boy for all us ladies, I think he likes it 😉

On our last Wednesday night there was a big bonfire on the beach for us where the students that had been taking poi classes were able to light their poi for the first time to perform, it was very fun, and beautiful. I ended getting drunk on pirate rum, (I certainly wasn´t the only one) and staying up on the beach until the wee hours of the morning and yes…making out (very briefly) with a cute Tico (what WAS I thinking?) oh well, chalk it up to experience….needless to say the next day I was quite hurting but got to Skype with my family for almost an hour (best!!!!) and get a shiatsu massage, so it was a beautiful day despite the big head.

Jackie headed to the Caribbean side and Allyson and I moved over to Santa Teresa last Saturday, just a half hour away from Montezuma. We decided to stay at Casa Zen which is a lovely place and close to the beach, and has an okay restaurant, (the breakfasts are really good). We went out on Saturday night with Jon (he came with us for one night) to an Electronica night at D&R and also on Monday night for reggae…2 crazy nights. My poor liver is floating and I have made myself a promise to cool it, and be kinder to myself again as yesterday I could have taken off someones head and was feeling all quiet and kinda bummed, gotta be all the alcohol. I´ve drunk more in the last 3 weeks then I had in the entire previous year…this has got to chill! and so it will, because as you will learn, I am one stubborn son of a gun and will do what I want no matter what anyone says…;) and right now I want to do good things for my self.

I have taken a couple yoga classes here, nice teacher named Christine, its very similar to Kristies class in Montezuma, flow and fun.

We´ve meet a couple from Vancouver, Sean and Amy and two brothers from Manitoba, George and Dino. also many other people, it´s hard to keep track of everybody´s names….

Yesterday we went to an infinity pool high up in the hills to watch the sunset, we went with about 8 other people, they all drank but i was good and just had juice (see….I am keeping my promise to my body!) we were in the pool for almost 5 hours…I swear I turned into a raisin!

After the pool we were starving and took a cab back into town for what may have been the best pizza I have ever eaten, or I may have just been very hungry!

Allyson is leaving tomorrow. I am headed back to Montezuma (probably bringing some of the above mentioned people along with me) for one or maybe two days because I never made it up to the second and third waterfalls, as well, I want to check in with Jon and use his computer and the phone there to get organized. I’m thinking of staying traveling, possibly for quite some time…. I have to make that decision asap so I can quit my jobs and get the details of life in place to do it…….maybe you´ll join me?